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Techspace - Although ChatGPT is causing a stir, its creator, OpenAI, is believed to be expending millions of dollars a month to support the chatbot free for users. Therefore, it is not surprising that OpenAI is attempting to monetize its software as it seeks billions of dollars in funding from Microsoft.
OpenAI published a waitlist for what the company refers to as "ChatGPT Professional" on its official Discord channel earlier this month.
OpenAI claims that ChatGPT Professional will be "always available," provide "fast responses" without throttling and provide users with "at least" twice as many answers per day as the free version.
In a message that TechCrunch discovered on Discord, the company stated, "We're starting to think about how to monetize ChatGPT (early thinking, nothing official to share yet)." Monetization is one strategy they're considering to ensure the service's long-term viability.
Anyone can sign up for the ChatGPT Professional pilot, and the request form asks how the respondent uses ChatGPT and what price they think is fair.
OpenAI has not announced or confirmed that this is an official test. The Verge has contacted the company for more information, but keep in mind that ChatGPT Professional's features and pricing may change before it launches.
As stated by OpenAI earlier this month, "We are not providing paid pro access at this time, and please keep in mind that this is a preliminary experimental program that is subject to change."
With that in mind, what do the users get for $42 per month? They will get "priority access to new features" (whatever they turn out to be), faster response time, and more reliable access due to ChatGPT's frequent downtime, according to screenshots shared by early access users.
What Do The Users Said About The Pro Version?
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Developer Zahid Khawaja, who is involved in several AI projects, posted a video showing how the pro tier works on desktop and mobile devices. He also included a screenshot of his payment to OpenAI as evidence. The system responds significantly faster than the free version, as Khawaja points out.
Here's how ChatGPT Pro works! A lot of users were asking me for proof, so I decided to make a video. pic.twitter.com/QYNn3pRnxI
Here's how ChatGPT Pro works! A lot of users were asking me for proof, so I decided to make a video. pic.twitter.com/QYNn3pRnxI— Zahid Khawaja (@chillzaza_) January 21, 2023
New ChatGPT pricing! pic.twitter.com/j7cGtcDSSn
New ChatGPT pricing! pic.twitter.com/j7cGtcDSSn— Zahid Khawaja (@chillzaza_) January 21, 2023
Cost is, however, the more contentious issue. On the official ChatGPT Discord, a lot of users were disappointed and angry about the $42 price tag.
One user commented, "If it made me money, I could justify the 42/mo. However, in my country, this is a good percentage of the minimum wage."
Another individual stated, "I very much wanted to pay for a plan, but 42$ is just too much."
"Peeps who are heavy users and wish to become "superhuman" with the assistance of AI will find that 42 USD is not excessive. However, it will be too much for too many," added another.
As the previous commenter pointed out, it is evident that users will evaluate any price based on their need for the service. There are numerous anecdotal accounts of individuals utilizing ChatGPT to speed up their work, and for these individuals, the cost of $42 per month is likely a reasonable expenditure comparable to any other software subscription.
However, casual users must rely on the free version to maintain feature parity with the professional version.
Given the deficiency of equal services, $42 is likely a hypothetical first try at pricing from OpenAI — and a nerdy in-joke. Eventually, even a small fee will be an excellent filter to see ChatGPT's value.
It's also important to remember that the AI chatbot market will explode this year. OpenAI's chosen big-tech-big-brother, Microsoft, is preparing to merge ChatGPT into Bing and its office suite. Google is reportedly rushing to demo its chat-enhanced search product later this year.
In addition, rival systems are growing (like Claude, created by former OpenAI staffers but only currently known in closed beta). Although ChatGPT has piqued the interest of early adopters, it will soon face stiff competition.
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